Het defensie-dividend

BRUSSEL – Op een heuveltop in de buurt van de Turkse stad Gaziantep houden Patriot-raketten de wacht onder het commando van de NAVO. Dit is slechts een van de zes Patriot-batterijen uit drie geallieerde landen – Duitsland, Nederland en de Verenigde Staten – die bescherming bieden aan miljoenen mensen langs de zuidoostelijke grens van Turkije met Syrië. Deze inzet is een blijk van de duurzame toewijding van de NAVO aan zijn kerntaak: het garanderen van de veiligheid van zijn lidstaten. Zij toont ook aan dat er in geval van het uitbreken van een crisis geen substituut is voor een effectieve afschrikking en verdediging.

Vrijwel iedere dag brengt nieuwe aanwijzingen dat zich een crisisgolf – bestaande uit elementen die uiteenlopen van terreur en de verspreiding van wapens tot cyberaanvallen en piraterij – uitstrekt van het Midden-Oosten en de Sahel tot in Centraal-Azië. Deze risico's zullen niet verdwijnen nu de NAVO-leden al hun aandacht nodig hebben voor het repareren van hun financiën. Toch is het een feit dat onze manier van leven is gebaseerd op veiligheid en stabiliteit. Bij ontstentenis daarvan kwijnen de investeringen weg, stort de werkgelegenheid in en krimpen de economieën.

In deze zware economische tijden zijn we ons er terdege van bewust dat veiligheid een prijs heeft. Maar we mogen niet vergeten dat de kosten van onveiligheid onaanvaardbaar zijn. De defensie is onze cruciale verzekeringspolis in een complexe en onvoorspelbare wereld.

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